May 5, 2006
Vermont Considers Making Genetically Modified Seeds a Private Nuisance
A boston.com article notes that Vermont Governor James Douglas said he would veto a bill that would permit farmers to sue manufacturers of genetically modified seeds if the seeds drift into their their fields. He expressed concern that manufacturers affected by the bill would be discouraged from selling seed in Vermont. As passed by the Vermont House and Senate, the bill provides that "[the release by a manufacturer . . . of a genetically engineered (GES) or plant part (GEPP) that causes the unintended presence of such seed or plant part within the lands owned or occupied by a person with whom the manufacturer has not entered a contrct of sale, use, or license shall constitute an unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of such lands," and that "[a] release that causes the unintended presence of GES or GEPP shall constitute substantial interference with the use and enjoyment of such lands if damages in any one calendar year from such unintended presence exceed $3,500.00 after mitigation of damages." If a release meets those criteria the bill states that it "shall constitute a private nuisance, and the manufacturer shall be liable for any damages resulting from the private nuisance." Damages are recoverable for economic loss caused by the GES or GEPP.
May 5, 2006 | Permalink
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